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Saying NO to the Shock Doctrine

Saying NO to the Shock Doctrine

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My friend Doug Doulton shared this on his Facebook timeline:


In it, Naomi Klein states:

Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy.  Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1 percent at the expense of the poor and middle class.

The administration is creating chaos. Daily. Of course many of the scandals are the result of the president’s ignorance and blunders – not some nefarious strategy.

But there is also no doubt that some savvy people around Trump are using the daily shocks as cover to advance wildly pro-corporate policies that bear little resemblance to what Trump pledged on the campaign trail.

And the worst part? This is likely just the warm up.

Click here to read the full article.


Yes. We have and are living this in the Middle East. We have endured this kind of strategy for millennia. What we lack, I believe, is the implementation of points two through five of what Ms Klein proposes. Tunisia is the only country so far which has pushed through and we see them somewhat succeed.

The remaining countries have a few millennia to catch up it seems.


Twitter, or the Olive Branch

Much has been said already about the effect of Social Media in mobilising the youth to grab what hitherto have been intractable and untouchable situations and catapulting them into world view, gaining tremendous moral support from the resulting wave of sympathisers and effecting real change, as has already happened in both Tunisia and Egypt.

Twitter of course has been a chief enabler of these waves. We’ve seen it shine in just about every situation since inception, particularly in the Iranian elections as well as the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts. So much weight has been put in Twitter by ‘the people’ that when the Egyptian authorities blocked the whole Internet to prevent its citizens from dispersing information, Google bought a company which enabled the transliteration of audio messages recorded on international telephone networks into Tweets!

It’s quite staggering what 140 characters can do.

Twitter has become the activists’ best friend and confident. To me what’s as important, is the direct connection it offers to people who could actually effect change, and if they can’t at least they are veritable influencers in their spheres to move issues into resolution or focus timelines. Through Twitter and its 140 characters, people from all walks of life can directly communicate with influencers like our very own foreign minister, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, as they could too with US President Barak Obama, the US State Dept, the United Nations Secretary General, Carl Bildt, Kevin Rudd and the British Foreign Minister William Hague. Most of the ones listed above actually tweet themselves or are very aware of their channels, therefore, what better chance is there for us plebs to affect our circumstance by not only following, but engaging with these forces? I don’t think this state of affairs is going to last long, sadly. As Twitter and its influential tweeps bloom, it’s only natural to expect that the direct channels to wane.

Regardless. This is the perfect opportunity to communicate. And with communication comes understanding, and with understanding problems get to be resolved. I’ve personally witnessed several occasions where Twitter offered almost a town-hall atmosphere where people questioned and got responses from those in power, directly and without any censorship or doors between them. I do hope that this tradition will last as long as possible. We need this.

With the 10th anniversary of the Charter coming up on the 14th, and people trying to organise both virtual and physical protests and celebrations in order to get their voices heard and their grievances aired, it would be wise to be cognizant of the world around us and put that to use too, if understanding is the goal of course.

A few days ago, I reacted to this tweet from the British Foreign Minister William Hague:

@WilliamJHague: I will announce new UK Arab Partnership Fund today to support human rights, civil society & freedom of expression in countries like #Tunisia

by responding that Bahrain might benefit from that initiative too:

On Tuesday 8th February 2011, @mahmood said:

and #bahrain would welcome such attention too. “@WilliamJHague: I will announce new UK Arab Partnership Fund today to support human rights, civil society & freedom of expression in countries like #Tunisia”

Sadly I didn’t get any response from him yet. However, I understand that he’s coming to Bahrain imminently AND that he will hold a Town Hall TweetUp to specifically promote this new initiative and field questions from the Twitterverse. Once he arrives, I intend to raise this question with him again, and ascertain whether the announced program is just PR talk design to bolster the UK’s chips in the void that both France and the US have effected in Tunisia, Egypt and the larger Arab world, or are there real and tangible steps put in place within that program to realise its promise? Will he be amenable, through this virtual interaction to exerting real pressure if required to help move an intractable situation forward, vis-a-vis Bahrain? Even by simply acknowledging the fact that problems do exist in this country and maybe help create the platform on which a resolution could be fostered?

I suspect his visit to Bahrain and his schedule will be announced soon. If you’re interested, mabye you can pose your own questions too. The addresses to add to your Twitter feed are @khalidalkhalifa and @WilliamJHague and the hashtag to monitor for his answers will be #askFS.


The dichotomy of American foreign policy

I was aghast when I heard Mr. Bush vehemently threatening Russia since the Georgian invasion and I simply couldn’t but draw parallels at the actions that he took in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

US President George W Bush has accused Russia of “bullying and intimidation” in its military actions inside Georgia.

Mr Bush demanded that Moscow respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and withdraw the troops it sent in a week ago – or risk international isolation.
BBC News

A pumpkin admiring Mr. Bush?
A pumpkin admiring Mr. Bush?
So Mr Bush (or whoever is pressing his buttons) has a problem with Russian “bullying and intimidation” but obviously does not have any problem whatsoever with what his own country has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone water-boarding, Guantanamo or goodness’ knows what else his troops and commanders get up to in their theatre of operations.

Should I give him the benefit of the doubt, though his words and actions have resolutely put paid that notion, or are we to assume that in the waning hours of his reign he has suddenly become repentant?

Most probably; though, he is simply demonstrating his intellect doesn’t even challenge that of that thing he is admiring!


Obama’s Middle East

It doesn’t surprise me at all to hear Obama’s unreserved support of Israel, delivered in his speech at the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby. I expected it in fact, maybe to demonstrate his disconnection from the background and descent that dogged him in his campaign. I suppose this will now intensify even more now that he has been chosen and he will direct his full attention to defeating the Republicans’ McCain. But in doing so, he will go even further to the right than McCain would even wish for.

It’s not a knee-jerk reaction, really, he didn’t need to even go to AIPAC now that he secured his position, but going there and reneging on his promises that he has to offer some explanations afterwards is something that we will probably get used to. Maybe this is due to his fervour and age. Or even a deeply rooted complex. But in whatever case, I really don’t hope for much in his Middle East policy if he does become the World’s president. I hope I am mistaken in this belief, but only time will tell. I still think Clinton would have probably made a better president, but it’s not me who’s casting the ballot.


Pangea Day

Pangea Day - the Earth comes together

Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film.

Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.

For the next 4 hours, the world will be one, in film and art. Please watch and support Pangea Day. It’s being broadcast now on Star World.


Bahrain is now the #3 Sin City in the World!


Update 25.9.15 – It looks like we’re now the Number 3 Sin City in the world, what an achievement! Woot woot!

party-bahrain-sinCurrently in the Middle East and you think it’s impossible to “partay”? You better search twice then because Manama isn’t going to search for you. Manama is just one of the cities where the nightlife is pumped up compared to other Middle Eastern cities. People go here for a couple of reasons and the first thing is: alcohol.

Alcohol is legal in Manama and so is the chance to mingle with the opposite sex. Don’t forget the atmosphere that magically appears when the night strikes and bars and nightclubs flash their lights, accompanied by music that can range from rock to jazz.

Sex, Drugs, and Money: The 10 Sin Cities in the World

  • 10. Pattaya, Thailand
  • 9. Tijuana, Mexico
  • 8. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 7. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  • 6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 5. Moscow, Russia
  • 4. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  • 3. Manama, Bahrain
  • 2. Macau, China
  • 1. Berlin, Germany


This should be good teeth gnashing material to our esteemed MPs:

Top 10 Sin Cities
Manama, BahrainManama, #8 sin city in the world?
Welcome to the party oasis of the Middle East. Connected by a causeway to nearby Saudi Arabia, Manama is a popular spot for Saudis to kick back from their country’s restrictive laws. Here they can get hammered, go clubbing, mingle with the opposite sex, and if they’re really daring, they can pick up prostitutes — a practice that’s illegal but widely available. While Manama is still largely a Muslim city, a third of its residents are foreigners, so it has led to a much more liberal culture that gave women the vote in 2001, and let them drive cars. For many Saudi males this proximity to an open culture is irresistible and many jam the causeway and fill flights to the city every weekend.

Do you want to see what happens when Saudis cut loose and leave the rules behind? You may need to get in line.

Other cities who made the cut are:

  • 10. Berlin, Germany
  • 9. Macau, China
  • 8. Manama, Bahrain
  • 7. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 6. Moscow, Russia
  • 5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2. Tijuana, Mexico
  • 1. Pattaya, Thailand

And LOOK, NO DUBAI in this list! We won, we won, we won, for a change!

The criteria for entry into this illustrious list? Well

Sin cities in which you can pursue vice and debauchery have existed throughout history — from Rome’s glory days where you could follow up your bet on a gladiator fight with an orgy to Shanghai where you could float for days on drug and sex highs in opium dens.

In the 21st century, new sin cities from around the world have taken up the cause, and we’ve compiled them all on our top 10 list. The criteria for a locale to make our sin cities list is pretty simple: It has to offer a strong presence of gambling, sex, drinking, drugs, and/or partying.

Maybe this is what the GDN was on about yesterday…

Rock on baybee!
thanks Essam!